“Every team’s point guard has to do what they do best to help their team win,” he said. “If it means Brandon Knight has to score points for us to help us win, then that’s what he should do. When you put the ball into someone’s hands, they have to do what they do best to help your team win, not to fulfill some idea of what someone has for the position. Whatever it takes to put your team in position to win, that’s what you have to do.
“For us, a lot of nights we need Brandon to score. There are going to be some nights we don’t need him to score as much and that’s what I’m talking about – mastering the position. I think he’s starting to figure out nights where we need him to be more aggressive, nights where we need him to get other people involved. That’s where you trust a kid like Brandon Knight is going to figure it out – and we do trust that this kid will get it.”
“He seems more and more comfortable at the position,” the Pistons president of basketball operations said. “He’s starting to see a lot more things and he’s taking the steps he needs to take. It’s been encouraging to watch him grow into his role and that’s all you’re really looking for from that position. You have to know when to attack, know when to give it up, know when to just control your team. He’s still a young guy. He’s probably played about 90 games now. He’s still learning, but I like the direction that he’s headed in.”
I don’t think this message has been lost on Brandon Knight. He has often looked to score this season – definitely more than he did last year – and I’m fine with that, in theory. The idea of a “true point guard” is wildly overstated, and players of many different styles have had success at the position.
But Knight, when he’s running the offense, must remember many of his teammates are more efficient scorers off the ball than he is on the ball. That doesn’t mean he should never shoot. I just think he has more room to improve at setting up his teammates than setting up himself – though both could use work, considering he’s at his best right now spotting up off the ball.
As Dumars said, “He’s still learning.” There’s no need to panic about Knight’s development at this state. It is OK to acknowledge his flaws, though. The Pistons are allowing him to play the style that suits him best rather than some preconceived notion of what a point guard should, but he still hasn’t learned what that ideal style s yet himself.